Prague, Czech Republic, is chockful of amazing and wonderful sights, lovely old bridges, gorgeous architecture, a castle hill, an awesome astronomical clock etc.
But, it has another interesting sight that many people don’t seem to know about: A John Lennon Wall, or Lennonova Zed. The citizens of Prague love John Lennon and the song “Imagine”, so I’m glad we found this.
The wall is on a small plaza next to a little canal off the Vlatava River, below the Charles Bridge in Mala Strana area (Little Quarter) on the Prague Castle side.
It’s a wall of graffiti, with a picture of John Lennon, and around it is graffiti in ‘60s hippie style/fashion. It still survives and people continue to add to it these days. The day we were there, a group of young Americans were adding to it with spray paint cans.
Why the love for Lennon? Lennon’s ideas gave many Czech people hope and a vision, as opposed to the oppression of V. I. Lenin’s ideas. When Lennon was killed in 1980 this wall was spontaneously covered with memorial graffiti, especially with “Imagine” and “All you need is love”. Each night the police would paint over it, and day after day it would reappear. Until independence in 1989, freedom lovers, locals and travelers, gathered here, as a special place. The wall is remembered as a place that gave hope to locals craving freedom (from Communist rule). Today the tensions and danger associated with the wall are gone, but people still come to imagine. “John zije” is Czech for “John lives”, and in a certain sense he does. Nearby, just over the canal, is a John Lennon pub too.
Right close by the wall is a small bridge over the canal, next to an old water mill wheel—it’s the last survivor of many mills that once lined the canal here. This small bridge is Prague’s version of a Love Locks Bridge, and it’s packed with locks of many shapes and colors. It looks very different to how Paris’s Pont des Arts looked (with its thousands of locks), as the structure of the bridge and the grille railing are different, and it’s a lot smaller. “All you need is love” seems an appropriate theme here too. I hope this one doesn’t get too heavy and the locks have to be removed, as happened recently in Paris.